Vellum Writing Software: Should You Get It? [Features and Pricing]
If you're an author or publishing professional, don't spend hours manually formatting your book files for e-book and paperback production. Instead, you can use the Vellum software system, which handles the complexities of formatting for you. Generate great-looking files for Amazon KDP and other book-retailer platforms. In this post, I cover the Vellum features and pricing. See if it's a fit for you.
What is Vellum software?
Vellum software is a tool writers and publishing professionals can use to format manuscripts into e-book, paperback, or hardcover files ready for inclusion on retailer sites like Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play.
File formatting for books can be quite complex, with requirements for word spacing, chapter breaks, page-margin dimensions, and more. Without software, these tasks can be tedious and time-consuming.
Plus, if you happen to make an error, your upload to a retailer site can be rejected, forcing you to start over.
Vellum was created to save you time and hassle with the book-production process.
Who is Vellum software for?
Vellum is primarily used by three types of people:
If you're a publishing-company employee or freelancer, you very well could be taking on multiple formatting projects a week. Doing all of them manually seems ludicrous - you'd surely benefit from a tool like Vellum.
If you're a self-published author formatting your own files, even on a single project, you'd feel the benefits of automating the process. If you plan to self-publish multiple books, the benefits of leveraging software would be even greater.
Not sure if Vellum is right for you? They offer of a free trial. Check it out on their website:
How does Vellum software work?
Vellum and cover files
Vellum is a file-formatting tool, not a cover-design tool. Whether you're creating an e-book, physical book, or both, you will need a cover file before you can sell copies on Amazon and other retailers.
Cover-design projects for e-books involve the creation of a rectangular image that matches the dimension requirements of retailers.
Cover-design projects for paperbacks are more involved, particularly because of the book spine. The width of the spine is dependent on the number of printed pages your book will have, which is dependent on its length, trim size, and interior spacing.
Once you produce a file for your physical book's interior in Vellum, a cover designer should be able to use the page count to appropriately size the spine. From there, a spine design can be created, plus a back cover.
When uploading files to Amazon KDP for paperback printing, you will need an interior PDF (which you can generate in Vellum), plus an exterior PDF for the front and back covers and spine. I'd recommend you work with a professional graphic designer on the exterior PDF versus trying to make it yourself.
If you need a good cover designer at a good price, check out the freelancers on Fiverr.
How much does Vellum software cost?
For e-book creation, you can find other software tools that are cheaper than Vellum. However, they may lack Vellum's styling options and ease of use. As for physical-book creation, not many other software systems can do what Vellum does.
At only $249.99 for lifetime access to the most comprehensive package, Vellum is worth the price. A poorly formatted book can be disastrous for sales. People browsing it may decide not to buy, while people who do buy yet don't like the page design, would be less likely to recommend your book to a friend.
An e-book may sell for $4.99 and a paperback for $14.99. So, if you can just sell just 15 additional copies in each format, you'd already earn back what you spent on Vellum, plus a profit.
If you're an author who plans to self-publish many books, this profit effect would be magnified over time.
As a self-published author, you also have the option to work with a self-publishing partner firm, which will handle e-book and paperback formatting for you. Though this option may be easier than creating your own files with Vellum, it may not be as cheap.
Over time, if you plan to publish many books, a one-time cost for Vellum could be considerably less than the accumulating total you'd be paying a firm for file-formatting services.
The same is is true for freelancers who offer formatting services - this option may be easier, but pricier. If you'd like to look into, here are some freelancers on Fiverr.
Ready to try Vellum?
If you aren't yet sure Vellum is right for you, I recommend you at least take advantage of the free trial on Vellum's site. If you're convinced Vellum is right for you, then buy your license on the site, today.
If you're an author looking to streamline other aspects of your marketing, you should check out these other tools available to you.
This post contains affiliate links.